There’s no magic spell to avoid grammar mistakes, but there is a part of speech that’s sort of magical. Using conjunctions correctly can keep run-on sentences and fragments out of your writing, not to mention a host of other common errors. All you need to do to enchant your writing is learn the three different types of conjunctions and how they work.
3 Types of Conjunctions
What Do Conjunctions Do?
Conjunctions join words, phrases, and clauses together. For example:
- Cats and dogs love to chase things.
- Tell me if my sister calls.
- We finished the project, though it took all night.
- My family may vacation in Hawaii, or they might take a trip to Colorado.
There are three distinct types of conjunctions used in sentences: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative. Print out this types of conjunctions chart to serve as a reminder of what each type does.
Coordinating conjunctions join together words, phrases, and independent clauses. The seven coordinating conjunctions spell out the acronym FANBOYS.
- For - explains reason or purpose
- And - adds one thing to another
- Nor - used to present an alternative negative idea to an already stated negative idea
- But - shows contrast
- Or - presents an alternative or a choice
- Yet - introduces a contrasting idea that follows the preceding idea logically
- So - indicates effect, result, or consequence
Examples of Coordinating Conjunctions in Sentences
Example sentences using the seven coordinating conjunctions include:
- I go to the park every Sunday, for I love to watch the ducks on the lake.
- I watch the ducks on the lake and the children playing soccer.
- I don't go for the fresh air nor for the ducks; I just like soccer.
- Soccer is entertaining in winter, but it's better in the heat of summer.
- The children play on two teams: blue or white.
- I always take a book to read, yet I never seem to turn a single page.
- I'm the mother of one of the players, so I watch the soccer game each week.
A subordinating conjunction always introduces a dependent clause, tying it to an independent clause. In English, there are lots of subordinating conjunctions.
Common examples include:
Examples of Subordinating Conjunctions in Sentences
Example sentences that use subordinating conjunctions include:
- Because of him, I learned how to start my own business.
- Everything will fall into place if you start at the beginning.
- Until you try, you'll never know.
- I add a new entry to my gratitude journal when I wake in the morning.
- As I write this letter, I know I must say goodbye.
- Life's been so happy since I moved to Chile.
Correlative conjunctions come in pairs, and each word from the pair appears in a sentence to make them work. Correlative conjunctions connect two equal grammatical terms.
Common pairs include:
- not only/but also
Examples of Correlative Conjunctions in Sentences
To best understand how to use correlative conjunctions correctly, read these sentence examples.
- I want either the pink sofa or the purple one.
- I'll study both English literature and art history.
- I didn't know whether you'd want milk or cream, so I grabbed both.
- Why do you want to visit neither Ireland nor Scotland?
- I took not only the pink sofa but also the Tiffany lamp.
- Not the cheeseburger for me, but definitely the fries.
Types of Conjunctions Quiz
Can you spot the conjunctions hiding in each sentence? Identify the type of each bolded conjunction.
- Although we broke up, I still have feelings for Toby.
- We went to both Yosemite and Yellowstone this summer.
- Jessica doesn’t eat meat, but she doesn’t mind the smell of bacon.
- The teacher had to choose whether she’d assign the student detention or just give her a warning.
- I don’t want to go to summer school, nor do I want to repeat this class.
- We can’t get married until we save enough money.
- Because you damaged my car, I can’t let you drive it again.
- Holly is afraid of ghosts, so she never watches movies about haunted houses.
Types of Conjunctions Quiz
- Although we broke up, I still have feelings for Toby. (subordinating conjunction)
- We went to both Yosemite and Yellowstone this summer. (correlative conjunctions)
- Jessica doesn’t eat meat, but she doesn’t mind the smell of bacon. (coordinating conjunction)
- The teacher had to choose whether she’d assign the student detention or just give her a warning. (correlative conjunctions)
- I don’t want to go to summer school, nor do I want to repeat this class. (coordinating conjunction)
- We can’t get married until we save enough money. (subordinating conjunction)
- Because you damaged my car, I can’t let you drive it again. (subordinating conjunction)
- Holly is afraid of ghosts, so she never watches movies about haunted houses. (coordinating conjunction)